Frequently Asked Questions about BayNVC's SituationQ: How can I find out about the current conditions at BayNVC?
A: At the end of May we sent a first letter describing the changes taking place at BayNVC. In short, we let go of our administrative office space while maintaining the workshop space, and we laid off three more administrative people, leaving only one person to support Miki’s work and a few critical functions. Most administrative functions were done by trainers and one volunteer through June and July. Carol Bade gave invaluable volunteer accounting help to bridge the transition and we have now hired a part-time accountant, Kate Dorman.
In mid-June we began a fundraising drive to address the financial obligations that BayNVC currently faces. At that time the total amount was $100,000. More details here about how you can participate.
Q: How did the financial crisis at BayNVC happen?
A: All organizations, especially non-profits, struggle to maintain a healthy balance between investing for the future and keeping expenditures within means. For some time, we invested in creating an administrative infrastructure, systems and procedures, a cohesive team at the office operating as close to NVC principles as we can embody, and many other small and large items that would allow us to provide a level of service we would be proud of. Our hope was that this investment would pay off as more people came to our events and as more organizations, in particular, became interested in what we offer. Sadly, this investment coincided with the economic downturn of 2008. The result was increased expenses without increased revenues. Whatever mistakes may have happened, such as hiring more people without sufficient confidence in revenue increase, all of us who made them were acting in deep integrity with our commitment to the work. None of us wanted to close down any aspects of the services we were offering, even when they weren’t financially sustainable. We knew that we were offering something of profound significance to the world, both locally and beyond.
Q: What systems do you have in place now to ensure this will not happen again?
A: Laying off administrative staff was the beginning of an entirely different way of doing business. In the past we had ample willingness to “carry” programs that were not sustainable within our existing staffing structure because of our great passion to contribute to everyone, regardless of means. At this point we are letting go, at least temporarily, of both the administrative infrastructure that we maintained in support of our participants and trainers, and the willingness to continue unsustainable projects and programs. Only those programs and events that can bring in sufficient revenue to cover their costs will go forward. Month by month we make collective decisions about what expenses we are able to carry, and those are the only expenses we will incur. We have had many offers of volunteer support, which are also helping us a lot. Most emphatically, we will only initiate or maintain a program that is not paying for itself based on a conscious choice to use surplus from some other program to support it.
Another aspect of our evolving new way of operating is that we are aiming for a much leaner operating model that significantly cuts our ongoing expenses. This includes a combination of more modern administrative and technological infrastructure, having trainers take on more of the administrative roles previously done by staff, and having volunteer support for some administrative tasks and technical support.
We are grateful to Carol Bade who stayed on for two months on a volunteer basis to help with the financial aspects of the complex transition, and welcome Kate Dorman, who is our new part-time accountant.
Q: How close are you to reaching your goal?
A: August news here. As of August 17, the results are:
One time donations: 160 people have donated $36K
Monthly donations: 34 people are pledging $900 monthly, ranging from $3 to $400
July Telesummit: estimated net of $25,000
Result: we are already over 60% of the way to our goal!
We are now able to fill all of our most immediate financial obligations, but over $35,000 remains. Depending on how we allocate things, all or most of this is owed to Miki personally. We are continuing our efforts with a goal of clearing up the financial obligations completely as soon as possible.
Update on Sep 18th: we are now over 80% of the way to our goal!
Q: If I contribute, how will my money be used?
A: For now, unless we get a contribution that is specifically designated for a particular purpose, our top priority is to fulfill existing financial commitments such as payments to trainers for work already done; credit-card debt; payment to a retreat center; and money owed to Miki. We are committed, as above, to pay for all ongoing expenses from income generated. We also want to invest in building a robust, sustainable future for BayNVC, and are taking steps to clarify what this could be. This may include creating materials and strategies to bring our work to organizations; innovative marketing strategies to extend the reach of NVC to new populations; initiating projects that benefit underserved communities and identifying funding sources for such projects. Overall, we have the following funding priorities once the most pressing of the financial commitments are covered:
· Ongoing general fund for whatever is needed
· Continued efforts to clear all past financial commitments
· Miki's writing projects
· Producing NVC learning materials
· Scholarships for leadership development
· Extending BayNVC's reach to businesses and non-profits
· Sustaining the Safer Communities Project
If you contribute using PayPal, you can give us your input to inform our own choices about these priorities. If you contribute by check or credit card, you can specifically designate any of the above categories, and your money will be used only for that purpose. Click here if you would like to donate now.